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Pelvic Washing and Cancer Cells

From the GYN Cancer Articles List


What is pelvic washing?What is pelvic washing?

A pelvic wash, also called peritoneal washing cytology (PWC), is a procedure in which the pelvic cavity is irrigated (washed) to check for cancer cells that have migrated beyond the cancer’s point of origin. Fluid is instilled into the abdominal cavity and washed around the abdominal organs, then withdrawn and analyzed for the presence of abnormal cells. A positive result may indicate that the cancer has begun to spread (metastasize).

Some doctors believe the presence of stray cancer cells in the pelvic wash is meaningful, while others do not. If you do not know if a wash was performed during your surgery, look for the word “cytology” on your report or simply ask the doctor or nurse to check the detailed report for you. Most oncologists do perform at least one wash during surgery.

If you do get a positive result for cancer cells in your pelvic wash, do not panic. Most doctors will recommend radiation therapy in such a case, and the radiation will most likely take care of any stray cells remaining in your abdomen.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-21-2011 - 10:58 PM


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